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Varyk stepped over to one side, his smaller stature made it harder to find him in a crowd. He smiled as he noticed that Dagny was also at the retreat. “Hi, Wingnut. Think if we lose these packets they’ll let us skip out on the workshops?”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea, Freckles,” she said.

“You know,” Henry said as he edged over to the side where the dwarves had settled. “I just noticed that there are seven dwarves.”

“Snow White you are not, Big Guy,” Varyk said to the older man.

“I am,” Conrad said. He handed everyone in the group their packets.

“I didn’t say that,” Varyk said, his cheeks flushing as he realized that his words could have been insulting, especially given that Conrad was an albino. “I just meant… personality… Snow White is sweet and innocent and the Big Guy here is neither of those things.”

“Of course,” Conrad said, his tone slightly sarcastic.

Varyk ducked his head and chuckled. “Yeah. Seven dwarves.” His eyes went round as he realized something. “Not Dopey,” he snapped at nearly the same time as the other six dwarves. A couple pointed over at Victor, who had been just a beat behind the others.

“I’m always Dopey,” he said.

“Yes you are, but we forgive you,” Conrad said with a smile.

“As long as you aren’t Gus, he gets killed,” one of the other dwarves said. “I’m Otto Bergmann, by the way. I’m an office assistant. I don’t know why they decided I needed stress management.”

“Greta Rothstein, personnel office,” a pretty dark-haired lady said with a smile. “I suppose that’s a bit stressful.”

Going around the circle to the left, the dwarf that Varyk had already greeted said, “I’m Dagny Goebel. I’m in Forensics with Leuthar Vogel.” She nodded toward a dwarf standing beside her. “Back to the topic at hand, Gus dies nobly, protecting Snow White.”

“He was the eighth dwarf,” Varyk pointed out. He smiled. “Varyk Tiefen, technical analyst.”

“You’re the one who’s actually an agent… so cool! And again, back to the topic, that’s what happens when you get one too many. Remember, the same thing happened to the sneaky one in that television show,” Leuthar said. “I know Dagny and Greta because she works in personnel and now I know the rest of you… except,” he pointed at the last dwarf and smiled.

“Barnabas Ehrlich,” he said. He looked around, frowning.

“We have a Barnaby,” Varyk said. He glanced at the other dwarves and grinned. “Remember that one?”

“It’s the only one where the dwarves have names and not strange designations,” Dagny said. “They all begin with the letter ‘B.’ I thought it was clever.”

Barnabas frowned and looked around. “I thought Anna would be here.”

Victor frowned and shook his head. “She e-mailed me and said that something had come up with her apartment.”

Varyk frowned. Anna would have been their eighth dwarf. He shook his head. There wasn’t really a curse on an eighth dwarf. That was just silly. He focused on the conversation that was still going around him

“You know in Mister Maggoo, they have real names, starting from the letter ‘A’ and going on through ‘G.’ It’s terribly corny though,” Otto said.

“It’s Mister Maggoo, you can’t watch it expecting good theater,” Varyk said.

“Do you all know every incarnation of Snow White?” Henry said. He sounded torn between shocked and frustrated.

“Self defense,” Varyk said. “Big Guy, that and the series of books by Tolkien are the first things that spring to mind when people see dwarves. We need to know the references people are making.”

“So we can figure out if we need to be offended or amused when they’re made,” Victor agreed.

Response to Reader Pet Peeves

I was recently reading a blog which talked about reader pet peeves. The majority of them were very subjective (“Don’t drag out the plot too much” “Don’t make the names too complicated” “Don’t be too descriptive”). There are people who love descriptions and want their authors to paint a picture in words. There are times, especially in the realm of speculative fiction, when you can’t just jump into the action. This isn’t 1920’s New York you’re dealing with. It’s Ambergia at the turn of the 5th century of Tronime. The setting actually has to be set up or you’ll lose the readers immediately.

I also noticed that many of the pet peeves listed were genre specific. Characters that angst over the same thing throughout the story – how many “teen romance” books have that as the plot? Too many characters, characters with too many different names, Names that are ambiguous when it comes to pronunciation – those things are all over in epic fantasy (Strider turns into Aragorn, as an example).

A couple of the comments just made me chuckle. “Dragged out plots with useless stuff makes my mind tired,” said one poster. Another said that all the pet peeves were just examples of bad writing that is unprofessional.

As a fantasy writer, I took up this challenge – Write a short story that doesn’t have complicated names, draggy subplots, too many details and descriptions, too much angst or too many characters.



There was a wizard named Bob. He had a daughter named Julie. When Julie grew up, she fell in love with a knight named Sir Richard. Bob did not like Sir Richard. He turned Sir Richard into a frog. When Julie returned from picking flowers one day, she asked her father what was for dinner.

“Frogs legs,” he said with a smile.

The end

free counters

I found this widget on Ravelry and thought I’d try it out here… for some reason I’m having trouble posting it, but anyway, I’m curious to see if I get any visitors and where they come from.


I made a little owl applique around Christmas time for Heather, I used it as a bookmark topper and posted the completed product as well as a rough pattern on Ravelry.  The link to the pdf is above this paragraph.  It’s a fairly simple and straight-forward pattern.  However, since this is the first time I’ve written up a pattern and it’s not any kind of formal crochet… format, I’d understand if anyone is confused.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail and I’ll try and get back to you as quick as I can.

One of my friends took the rough pattern I’d made and made a pdf of it so I could share it with others.  So cool.  Thank you so much TypoqWeen, that was so awesome of you.

I am still writing…

just not posting during November. I got busy during National Novel Writing Month and haven’t posted since the beginning. I finished my novel and I’m sure I’ll post portions here in the coming days but since I’m over at my sister’s house, not today.

I’m going to focus on the Ballard Brothers for a while, partially because I’m really enjoying playing with those characters and partially because I really want o hammer out the universe some more. What started out as a Fullmetal Alchemist AU has really taken off into something huge and I love it.

I’m considering entering/joining WriYe next year and focusing not only on simply writing daily as I have been doing but focusing on a single project for longer than a single month. We’ll see how that goes.

Happy holidays to all the people who read my blog. Hopefully things will heat back up again with this. I’m usually horrible with daily journals and such-like. We’ll see how it goes.

Dwyn knew he was young. His bodyguard often told him that his youth made him impatient. He was all of thirteen and realized that it colored his perspective. However, it also made him slightly less cynical. He truly believed that the world could change.

There was a time, many decades ago, that non-humans were looked upon as equals. If things had changed so that people would put them in a sideshow menagerie, then things could change back. Things could even change for the better. Dwyn smiled, imagining a time when the races lived together – not separately – as equals.

Can You Hear the Distance

Arthur was always surprised by how mature some lings acted while others acted like the children they seemed to be. The inn staff worked to prepare the inn for a night’s business amid the rumbles and crashes of lightning.

For Columbine, the sounds were a background noise; meant to be ignored, just as they were for Alair and Baxter. However both Mirabelle and Ally seemed terrified of the flashing lightning and rolling thunder. A thought occurred to him and he knelt between the two girls, able to meet their eyes for once.

“You can hear how far away the lighting is, you know,” he said.

“You can hear it?” Baxter said, looking up from the bar. “How’s that.”

Arthur paused, remembering something his mother had taught him many years ago. “When you see a flash of lightning, start counting blue monkeys. Every five blue monkeys is a whole mile.”

“There’s no such thing as blue monkeys,” Mirabelle said, chuckling softly.

“Counting such silly things is part of the fun,” Arthur said, with a shrug. He noticed Columbine grinning and smiled back. He knew that his mother had told him to count second by using the phrase “blue monkey” because thinking of something so silly would keep his mind off being scared. Counting how far away the lightning actually was also helped. It didn’t seem so terrible once it was given some distance.

In moments both girls were back at work and seemed les frightened of the storm outside. They even began something of a contest, competing with each other to see who could count more lightning strikes. Arthur shrugged and returned to work, not really remembering how the girls had learned the trick but glad that it was reassuring them.

I had an interesting weekend and actually felt the need to write about it. As an unemployed person, my interesting weekend began with the meeting I had with the advisor the labor department has assigned me until I actually have a job. (Is anyone hiring?) He told me that all the jobs I have applied for in the private sector have an equivalent job in the public one. The state pays well (at least until the governor shuts it down) and has great benefits (provided the politicians don’t spend all the money) so I should try for those. Unfortunately… at this point the only job that my over a dozen years of experience as a teacher qualifies me for is… a food service worker. Well, that’s one application the state’s getting.

Saturday was a much nicer day. I went to the Farmer’s Market on Main Street. For the first time in over a year I got to enjoy sitting and listening to Celtic live music. One young man had a guitar, a lady played a variety of penny whistles and the last moved back and forth between a bodhron (I think that’s how it’s spelled, it’s a kind of drum) and a fiddle. For those of you who don’t know, I love this kind of music. It inspires me to write about bards. ^^ We only got to hear two songs before they packed up to leave. Maybe we’ll come back next week and listen to something else.

The coffee was delicious, even though Retriever Roasters (where we were supposed to meet a friend) was closed. Our friend wasn’t able to make it due to a family emergency, but we had a good time anyway. I hope everything in her family is well.

As always happens, the Dana attracted attention. “What kind of lap top is that?” is the usual question. I don’t mind answering and even talking up the company. My Dana is the best little computer I’ve ever had, even with the little hiccups I occasionally get from it.

I can’t imagine why any place would be closed when something like a farmer’s market is happening just outside. Not only was it beautiful out, the farmer’s market brought everyone down to Main Street. As annoying as it was to have half of Main Street closed off, if it helps the local businesses it’s worth it.

Then came Sunday. Sunday was the last service our pastor will give before she retires. I loved her preaching style and I’ll miss her both as a pastor and as a person. I can’t express the gratitude I have toward her for the support she’s given me since my divorce and all during the stuff that happened at my last place of work. So I was really looking forward to listening to the sermon. Then, seated up in front of literally God and everyone, there were people in the choir behind me who insisted on talking throughout the sermon. I get glared at because I write (usually religious poems or my thoughts about the sermon) or draw (again, usually religious artwork, often inspired by the sermon or time of year) and these folks are chatting about I don’t know what during the sermon. What the heck? I gritted my teeth and focussed on the sermon.

Well, that all made me feel much better and I’m shocked that I wrote an honest to God blog entry. It won’t be my last entry for the day though, the story is yet to come. If anyone is reading my story, please comment. I get tired of the spam lists as comments.

My sister, who is the ML of our region, asked that I should mention Script Frenzy today on my blog as a way of getting the word out. ^^ I’ve done it every year since it’s inception and had a lot of fun. I’m not sure how many people read my blog, and I’m not sure how many of those who read are also writers but… challenge yourself this April – 100 pages in 30 days. What harm could it do and it might be fun!

Hello world!

Hello.  My sister has an account on WordPress that links directly to her Facebook account and she puts her stories there.  I figure with NaNoWriMo coming up, I might want to do the same thing.  Hopefully I’m better about updating this site than I was my Livejournal one.  (That was just too much html formatting for me.)

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

Heather's Fancies

tales from the enchanted gardens and shadow hollow is the best place for your personal blog or business site.